For those of you who haven’t heard of Wonobo till now, it is an Indian company which is aiming to bring street view technology to Indian consumers. This concept is similar to Google’s Street View but the Indian Government is not very keen on Google collecting data on Indian streets. On the other hand, Wonobo which does the same thing, has in fact, got the approval of the authorities and has even managed to partner with the Indian Tourism Ministry.
Wonobo is being run by Genesys International, which does work in mapping and geospatial services. The company provides its services for both Enterprise and the Government. Wonobo is its first consumer facing product. Wonobo’s web service has been up since a while and they launched their mobile app (Android) during the end of the last month.
When you launch the app, you see that the overall UI is divided along two panes. The one at the lower end shows images mapped in a faux 3D way to give a perception of depth. The top half of the screen shows a map and your current position on it. The app needs you to set your GPS settings to High Accuracy.
By default it will show you your location but you can also use the search field to search for various locations that you want. Once selected, you can view these locations on the map or even travel along with the street view interface to other locations nearby. As you see popular locations, you will also see tags floating above these places. Clicking on these tags helps you know the information such as name of the place, details and contact information. Naturally, this would be very useful for business discovery even when a user is searching casually. However, the tags look rather forced on the photos and thus need to be designed in a better way to merge well with the surroundings.
Besides this, you can also navigate using the app. Like Google Maps, you can key in your current location and your target destination. The app will guide you along the path to your destination. Your virtual location marker on their map is shown as a Auto-rickshaw and I thought that was pretty cool! However, even though the navigation feature worked decently, it will require quite a bit of polish.
The app does not have feature parity with the desktop website yet. Though the UI is good, it can be done in a better way on future iterations. For example, Split view serves its purpose but it also limits the amount of screen size for both the map and the street view. While it is true that tapping on the ‘Views Button’ can toggle either screen, I believe that Split view by default is confusing. The app could show a map on default and list street views on this map. Once you go into street view mode, you can then jump to different streets by traveling virtually. If you feel lost, then you could probably tap a button on the street view which brings back the map interface.
The task of bringing street views and virtual walk-throughs to the mobile is a tough one. This is a good effort by the team behind Wonobo but it is definitely in need of improvement, especially on the UX front. The website on the other hand is a much better product but I understand that translating the desktop UX to mobile is not an easy challenge to work on. Further iterations should aim at improving the experience for the end consumer.
You should download this app anyway because it does provide quite a bit of information about cities and places of interest in India.
Download Link | Wonobo on Play Store